Pacific women at high risk of pregnancy depression

08 August 2019

New research highlights the importance of primary healthcare.

Recent research conducted by the University of Auckland has found that significant numbers of Pacific women in New Zealand are experiencing symptoms of depression during pregnancy.

The Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) longitudinal study of more than 6,000 children and their families has found that Pacific women living in New Zealand are far more likely to experience symptoms of prenatal depression than other ethnic groups.

The research, published in the Journal of Primary Health Care provides an in-depth understanding about why Pacific women are more likely to experience symptoms of depression during pregnancy.

23 percent of Pacific women experienced symptoms of prenatal depression, compared with around 14 percent of other women and only around 8 percent of European women.

Researchers are calling for better primary healthcare for Pacific women.

Lead researcher, Dr Lisa Underwood, says it’s important to understand what contributes to the higher rates of depressive symptoms among pregnant Pacific women in this country so that appropriate and targeted interventions can be developed.

GuiNZ Pacific advisor and paper co-author Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow said finding about accessing health care was "significant".

More focus was needed to both encourage Pacific women to access health services, and to also improve the quality of those services.

SouthSeas Healthcare runs the Tapuaki pregnancy education programme for Pacific women, formed around talanoa-style sessions with helpful information available for expectant mums and dads, and for members of the whole family.

This service is available to a first-time Pasifika mother under the age of 25. It is all about guidance and advice to give the best support for expectant mums and their families.

The Tapuaki programme is available in Pacific languages, as well as English, and if you or your family require additional support, the talanoa can be held at your home.

Although the findings of the research pointed to a group of vulnerable women who do not have access to primary healthcare but are in desperate need of it, the Taupuaki programme may help.

We know how important it is to feel safe, confident and supported during pregnancy.

Click here for further information on Tapuaki Pregnancy Education courses or contact us.

You can read the paper in the Journal of Primary Healthcare here

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